Photographs © Tim Hamill
4.75" - 7.5" high
We know little about these fetish objects from the Toma people. There are some similarities with objects from the Kissi people in Sierra Leone.
A fetish is a statue or object with magical power, like an amulet, talisman
or good luck charm. In traditional, tribal Africa, especially in Zaire,
these beliefs are manifested in some of the most expressive and magical
power figures ever created. This exhibit brings together the relics of many
peoples, all used for specific functions, usually to conjure away evil spirits
or attempt to control one's destiny.
Common to many tribes was the belief that the fetishes acquired power through the ritualistic carving and consecration, the addition of special substances and the recurring activation of its spirit by offering sacrifices and magic words. Some fetishes have the heads or stomachs hollowed out to hold special substances; some have mirrors to reflect back evil or to blind hostile spirits; some are Janus-figures for better vigilance and protection. Among the materials added to the wood figures are horns, shells, nails, feathers, mirrors, metal, twine, paint, cloth, raffia, fur, beads and herbs; anything thought to add power or magic.
If you are looking for a particular tribe or object please check our Indexes by Tribe, by Object or by Material.
RETURN TO TO TOMA FETISHES PAGE
RETURN TO SIDE BY SIDE EXHIBITION PAGE
GO TO FETISH! EXHIBITION PAGE
GO TO AFRICAN FETISHES PAGE
GO TO FETISHES (VARIOUS TRIBES) PAGE
GO TO TOMA SCULPTURE PAGE
GO TO ARTIFACTS PAGE
GO TO AFRICAN FIGURES PAGE
GO TO MASKS AND HEADS PAGE
GO TO NEW ADDITIONS PAGE